Apple has been releasing smart accessories at a rapidly increasing rate. Many of them are accessories designed to not just work with your Apple devices, but require you to use an Apple device. Currently, Apple has settings and management tools for their accessories all over the place. Apple Watch has its own management app, AirPods are buried in Bluetooth settings and peripherals customization exists deep in the Settings app. There’s got to be a better solution and I think it’s turning the dedicated Watch app into an Accessories app.
AirPods, HomePod, Apple Watch & more in one place
In theory, Apple could maintain a similar structure to the Watch app. But they could implement compatibility with other accessories like AirPods, HomePod, Beats, and Apple’s Magic peripherals. By unifying all of their accessories into one app, users would be able to quickly and easily find essential settings to get the most out of their purchases.
They could also build the battery life widget into the app. You could still use the current 2×2 grid of devices that Apple introduced in iOS 14. However, the new app would let you create widgets for individual accessories. Each widget could show not just the battery life, but connectivity status and actual product photos rather than icons.
AirPods and Apple Watch both offer pairing screens on your iPhone when you hold them nearby. With the Accessories app, Apple could make it easier for some users by adding a page with all compatible accessories.
Adaptive Pairing Screens
The pairing screen could adapt based on the selected device. So if you want to pair an Apple Watch, you’d get the traditional viewfinder and if you wanted to pair AirPods it would give you instructions to open the case and press the button. The app could even offer help and alternative pairing methods.
Magic Peripheral Settings
Apple’s Bluetooth accessories, all sync across your devices signed into iCloud. With the introduction of an Accessories app, they could display settings for them on all of your devices. For example, you could see and edit settings for a Magic Keyboard you originally paired to your iMac on your iPad Pro. They could also add intelligent device switching akin to AirPods so that your devices recognize which of them they should connect to an accessory.
Accessories that physically connect to an iPad or iPhone could also show up in the app. The Magic Keyboard cover and Apple Pencil would both have their settings moved to the Accessories app. The Magic Keyboard cover’s settings are buried so deep right now in Settings that this would be a huge improvement.
Apple is likely to introduce more smart accessories in the future. In fact, we know that more are on the way. Apples AirTags are a perfect candidate for an accessories app. Track their location in the Find My app and customize their settings in the Accessories app. The same would go for HomePod and HomePod mini in regards to the Home app. Settings would appear in Accessories but you could still see and use playback controls in the Home app.